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Complex regional pain syndrome in children

David D Sherry, MD
Section Editors
Thomas JA Lehman, MD
Marc C Patterson, MD, FRACP
Deputy Editor
Elizabeth TePas, MD, MS


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is an amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome that is characterized by extreme pain in a limb out of proportion to the history and physical findings, accompanied by one or more signs of autonomic dysfunction [1]. Although CRPS was first reported in 1864 [2], it was not until 1971 that CRPS was described in a child [3]. Since the initial pediatric report, CRPS is increasingly recognized in pediatric pain, rheumatology, and neurology clinics [4-6].

The clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management of CRPS in children are reviewed here. CRPS in adults is discussed separately. (See "Complex regional pain syndrome in adults: Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis" and "Complex regional pain syndrome in adults: Prevention and management".)


Alternative names for CRPS in the literature include reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), algodystrophy, causalgia, Sudeck atrophy, transient osteoporosis, and acute atrophy of bone. In 1995, a consensus conference grouped these disorders under a single heading of CRPS [7].

CRPS is divided into two categories:

Type I occurs in patients with CRPS without a definable nerve lesion.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Mar 22, 2016.
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